When I put this in my book as one of the “99 Words for Leaders to Live By,” I have always respected people who were reliable, and always been very frustrated by people who weren’t.

One of my pet peeves is when someone doesn’t respond because (I can only imagine), they are afraid to give you bad news, or whatever.

If you don’t get anything else from this blog, listen to this: people HATE not to know. And being unable to face your own fears by leaving things up in the air with someone is BAD behavior (maybe even, in my book, “despicable” behavior).” I always try to remember to respond to people whether the response is good, bad, or indifferent.

I am not perfect, either. And I know I have not always done as well at this as I would wish, but I do try. Unfortunately one of my, perhaps, distressing habits, is I tend to really think things through and my response to someone may take more time than they expect. This has always been difficult for people who have asked me something in a conversation, because I may not respond right away — I have to ponder. [Just for the record, ladies, pondering is definitely/often a man thing. I write about this in my book, “Difficult Men.” When in doubt, ask him again!]

Especially if you are in a leadership position, it is a good idea to be reliable about keeping your people informed. Period. And if you can’t because of some rule or guideline, then let them know that you can’t. That is better than saying nothing.

Also, be reliable in other ways. People like to know who you are and what you stand for. It helps them understand the dynamics of an office and a group. In other words, have the chutzpah, (I hope I am using this correctly) to stand for something and not to wave in the breeze at the least bit of difficulty that sways one way or the other.

Be reliable: in most cases people will respect you for it.

Know this, too: this country was framed by a commitment to truth and honor fostered by a group of people who were frustrated with how the government they were under ignored their requests for open dialogue and the ability to have input into how they were being treated. [Hint: Taxation without representation.] It’s nice when people are willing to listen. Be a leader with open ears and a willingness to be the truth for the people you represent with honor.


Joe Koob


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